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Samson Occom, journal, 1774 July 8 to August 14

ms-number: 774408.2

abstract: Occom documents his and David Fowler's travels from Mohegan to Indian communities in Connecticut, Western Massachusetts and New York. The death of William Johnson, and the battles between the Shawnees and the Virginians are mentioned.

handwriting: Occom's hand is mostly clear and legible. Letter case is occasionally difficult to decipher.

paper: Small sheets folded in half to make a booklet are bound at the center fold by a metal pin that is still in place. The paper is in fair-to-poor condition, with moderate-to-heavy fading and wear that results in some loss of text.

ink: Brown ink varies in intensity throughout.

noteworthy: Although it is uncertain, when Occom mentions a "Mr. Johnson" on four recto, he is possibly referring to Joseph Johnson. An editor, likely 19th-century, has overwritten letters, words, and punctuation; these edits have not been transcribed. In the Rauner collection, a note from this editor accompanies the journal; this note has not been transcribed. If the name of a person or place is illegible, it has been left untagged.

Modernized Version -- deletions removed; additions added in; modern spelling and capitalization added; unfamiliar abbreviations expanded.

July 8: 1774:

David Fowler and I set out
about 3: o'clock in the afternoon
from Mohegan, on a Journey
towards Oneida to visit our
brethren, reached So far as to
Colchester, lodged at Mr. [illegible][guess: G[illegible]si]
Foot's and were very kind
ly entertained, —

July 9

very early in the
morning went on our journey
rode about 8 or 9 miles were
kindly invited in by one
Mr. Luther I believe a Christian
man and broke our fast
[gap: tear][guess: w]ith him, after breakfast
went our way, stopped at Mr.
s a Seperate minis[gap: tear]
in Middletown, and dined with
him, after Dinner went on again
reach the Borders of Farmington
in the evening and we put
up a tavern, —

Sabbath July 10

got up very
early in the Morning and wen[gap: tear][guess: t]
on to Indian Town arrived
there about 7 o'clock in the morn[gap: tear]
put at Friend Elijah Wympy's
preached twice this Day and
in the evening, —

Monday July 11:

we were at
the Indian place all Day visit
ed amongst them found them
well in general and well dis‐
posed toward Religion —

Tuesday July 12

about 9 o'clock
left the Place and went on to
New Hartford about 8 miles,
where 2 or 3 Families of Indians
Live, there preached in the after
Noon, in the evening went
to an English House and lodged
there and was very kindly
entertained —

Wednesday July 13:

ordination at the place called
[gap: omitted] one Mr. [gap: omitted]
ordained, after ordination went
to the Indian Place again and
preached just before Night, after
meeting went 2[illegible][guess: :] or 3[illegible][guess: :] miles [illegible][guess: to]
one Chaugums and lodged there
he is an Indian from Block‐
and has a white woman
for his wife

Thursday July 14:

went over
the River and breakfasted with
Deacon [gap: omitted] after Break
fast went to New Hartford to Mr.
's and [illegible] to meeting at
10 o'clock, after meeting went
Back to Mr. Marshs to Dine
with him after Dinner went
on to Norfolk with one [gap: omitted]
got to the Place just before
sunset lodged with the
Same gentleman that Con
ducted us here, —

Friday July 15:

had a
meeting about 9 o'clock this
morning, after meeting went
on our way to Stockbridge
reached to the Place Some
Time before Night, we
called on Mrs. Kirkland and
found her and hers well,
good Mr. Sergeant Came to See
us, and in the Evening went
home with him and lodged

Saturday July 16:

was at the
Place all Day, visited Some
Indians, towards evening met
at Honises to converse with the
Indians but we had no
Interpreter however we had
Some conversation about
Spirituals and Temporals —
Lodged again at Mr. Sergeant

Sabbath July 17:

in the morning heard Mr. Periham
Preach, — In the afternoon I preached
Twice first to the English, and
just before Night to the India[gap: tear][guess: ns]
there was a great Number of [gap: tear]
of the white People — — —
Lodged at one Capt. Joness this
Night, —

Monday July 18

met the Indi
ans in the morning at Honises
had Some conversation with
them Concerning Temporal
and Spiritual Concerns —
dined at Capt. Joness and im‐
mediately after Dinner went
our way towards Richmont
Deacon Willson and Capt. Jones
and others went with us, got
there Some Time in the afternoon
here met with my old acquain
tance from Long Island, good
Doctor Tarbell, mr Jeremiah Miller
Mr. Lewis Hedges and Mr. Reuben
, I preached at the Place
this afternoon to a crowded
Auditory; after meeting went
[gap: tear] Dr. Tarbells and lodged there
and was very kindly entertained

Tuesday July 19:

Soon after Breakfast went on
to New Canaan preached there
this morning, as Soon as meeting
was over went with Mr. John‐
son to New Lebanon and preached
there this afternoon, Soon af
ter this meeting we had governor
and a gentleman
from the West Indies and othe[illegible][guess: r]
and Some Ladies, Soon after
meeting we set off on our
Journey and we traveled 'til
about 10 o'clock in the Night, we
Could not find a Tavern, and was
obliged to put up at a poor
private house — —

Wednesday July 20:

got up very
early in the morning and
went on our way, got to Alb[gap: tear][guess: a]
about 8 o'clock in the fore [gap: tear][guess: noon]
stopped a little while there, and
passed on to Schenectady got
there Some Time in the after
Noon, put up at Mr. Post's
our old Friends, and they were
very glad to See us and we
were glad to See them also —

Thursday July 21:

in the morning preached at
this place in Mr. Millers meeting
house, dined at Mr. Millers
Lodgings, Soon after meeting
left the place and proceeded
on our Journey, arrived to
Col. guy Johnson's just be‐
fore sunset, sat a little
while with him, found
him very Solitary on the
[gap: tear][guess: ac]count of the Death of
Sir William Johnson — last
Friday was the first our
hearing of his Death which
Dampt our Spirits much
about sunset we left Col.
Guy Johnson
and we went
on and traveled 5 or 6 miles
and put up at one Mr. [illegible]s

Friday July 22:

went off very early in the
Morning towards night
reached the upper Mohawk
called Fort Hendrick
put up at Joseph Brant's
but he was not at Home [illegible]
but few of the Indians

Saturday July 23:

left the
place early in the morn
and went on our way, Still
went no further than one
Mr. Thomson's

Sabbath July the 24:

we thought it best to travel
being a fine Clear Day —
arrived at old Oneida about
4 o'clock in the afternoon,
found our Friends well in
general, and they were
very glad to See us and
we were as Glad. stopped
about an Hour an half and
So pushed on to Kanawalo
, got there just in dusk of
the evening, a great Number
of them issued out of their houses
and were overjoyed to us, and
we were very glad to See them,
after Salutations went to Mr.
s, and he was sur
prised to See us and we embraced
each other for Joy, and a
Number of the Indians Came
in and they Sang Psalms sweet
ly before they went out —
The good Lord be praised
that he has Safely brought
to the place of our desire and
and that we have found our
poor Brethren So well —
about 10 took rest for the
Night — — —
Spent the week with agreeable
view of the situation and
hopeful prospect of the Indians
future happiness — great alte
ration has been made a
mong these Indian both as
to their Temporal and Spiri
tual Concerns Since I was here 12 years ago, the Lord bless
them more abundantly —
Yet I find the Devil is very
is very busy at this time to
obstruct the pure Doctrines
of the Gospel of Jesus Christ
the Le[illegible][guess: aven] of the Pope, which
has been planted among th[gap: tear][guess: ese]
poor Indians long Since [illegible][gap: tear]
Now ferments among them [gap: tear]
and the leaven of the apostiti[illegible]d,
Protestant Christans which is worse
than the Heathens, with the Heathen
superstions are all fermenting
together at this Time to oppose the
True Religion of Jesus Christ
which consists in the Power, as
well as in form, and it produces
love to god and Man and Holiness
of Life —

July 31:

Mr. Kirkland preached
in the morning, and I in the
afternoon,— these Indians have
got a good large Meeting house
almost completed outside, with
a neat belfry to it —
This week on wednesday had
a conference with Indians Concern
ing the True Doctrines of J[illegible][guess: c] be‐
ing all ways Offensive to a
Carnal — —

[gap: tear][guess: Sa]turday August 6 [illegible]:

[gap: tear] able to ride to Fort
Stani[illegible][guess: x] with Mr. Kirkland
expecting to meet a great number
of Indians there as they were
all going to Salmon fishing
but we did not with So many
as we Expected, though there a
considerable Number of them

Sabbath August 7: 1774

I preached all Day to the
whites, in the evening a number
of the Indians Came in to Mr.
s to Sing, and and a number
of the whites Came to hear —
last night Night and this morn
a fresh man a Roman Catholic
and an English woman pressed
us very hard to Baptize their
Children, but understanding
their Immorality we declined to
Baptize them, —

Monday August 8:

was n[gap: tear][guess: ot]
well enough to Proceed t[gap: tear][guess: o]
fishing Place, and So I returned
to Kanawalohale with Mr. Kirkland
got to the place before Night
Spent the week peaceable I
went a fishing almost every
Day and we had Small fish enough
every Day — —

Sabbath August 14:

Mr. Kirkland
preached, and toward evening
I put a question to them, which
was this, what is it that makes
a Christian or who is a Christian
a Number of them answered, and
they answered well, — — —
This week and last week we
have heard very Bad News
the Shawnees have had a Sp[illegible]art
engagements with the Virginians
and many were Slain on both
Sides and Shawn[illegible][guess: ies] have Sent
[gap: tear][guess: be]lts of wampum all round
[gap: tear] [illegible]ng the Tribes of Indians
for assistance, but we cant [gap: tear]
how Tribes have joined th[gap: tear][guess: em]
about a week ago [gap: tear]
Chief warriors Came to o[gap: tear]
from Shawn[illegible][guess: ies] Country, with
Ten Belts of wampum and
three Scalps, two Indian and
English Scalp, they with a Cry
to the five Nations for help —
the 2 Indian Scalps Signify
that the English were too many for [gap: tear]
and killed of them, the one Scalp
that Indians have killed but few
English, — the Six Nations
have been Call to assemble at
onondaga, there the grand coun
cil was to Sit, but most of the
Six Nations are at This Time
disposed every where for pro
visions, and nothing is done
yet, they are about to [gap: tear]
the Runners the Second T[gap: tear]
[gap: tear] supposed the Six Nations
[gap: tear]et Join the Shawnees
[gap: tear]termine to abide by their
[gap: tear]ment and Covenant with
[gap: tear] [illegible]English entered at the End [gap: tear][guess: of]
the last wars with French —
Occom, Samson

Samson Occom was a Mohegan leader and ordained Presbyterian minister. Occom began his public career in 1742, when he was chosen as a tribal counselor to Ben Uncas II. The following year, he sought out Eleazar Wheelock, a young Anglo-American minister in Lebanon, CT, in hopes of obtaining some education and becoming a teacher at Mohegan. Wheelock agreed to take on Occom as a student, and though Occom had anticipated staying for a few weeks or months, he remained with Wheelock for four years. Occom’s academic success inspired Wheelock to open Moor’s Indian Charity School in 1754, a project which gave him the financial and political capital to establish Dartmouth College in 1769. After his time with Wheelock, Occom embarked on a 12-year mission to the Montauk of Long Island (1749-1761). He married a Montauk woman, Mary Fowler, and served as both teacher and missionary to the Montauk and nearby Shinnecock, although he was grievously underpaid for his services. Occom conducted two brief missions to the Oneida in 1761 and 1762 before embarking on one of the defining journeys of his career: a fundraising tour of Great Britain that lasted from 1765 to 1768. During this journey, undertaken on behalf of Moor’s Indian Charity School, Occom raised £12,000 (an enormous and unanticpated amount that translates roughly to more than two-million dollars), and won wide acclaim for his preaching and comportment. Upon his return to Mohegan in 1768, Occom discovered that Wheelock had failed to adequately care for his family while he was gone. Additionally, despite the vast sums of money that he had raised, Occom found himself unemployed. Wheelock tried to find Occom a missionary position, but Occom was in poor health and disinclined to leave his family again after seeing the treatment with which they had met while he was in Britain. Occom and Wheelock’s relationship continued to sour as it became apparent to Occom that the money he had labored to raise would be going towards infrastructure at Dartmouth College, Wheelock’s new project, rather than the education of Native Americans. After the dissolution of his relationship with Wheelock, Occom became increasingly focused on the needs of the Mohegan community and increasingly vocal in criticizing Anglo-Americans’ un-Christian treatment of Native Americans. In September of 1772, he delivered his famous “Sermon on the Execution of Moses Paul,” which took Anglo-American spiritual hypocrisy as one of its major themes, and which went into four printings before the end of the year. In 1773, Occom became further disillusioned when the Mason Land Case was decided in favor of the Colony of Connecticut. The details of the Mason Case are complicated, but to summarize: the Colony of Connecticut had gained control of Mohegan land early in the 18th century under very suspect circumstances, and successfully fended off the Mohegan’s 70-year-long legal challenge. The conclusion of the case came as a blow to the Mohegans, and further convinced Occom of Anglo-American corruption. Along with David Fowler (Montauk Tribe), Occom's brother-in-law, and Joseph Johnson (Mohegan), Occom's son-in-law, Occom helped found Brothertown, an Indian tribe formed from the Christian Mohegans, Pequots, Narragansetts, Montauks, Tunxis, and Niantics. They eventually settled in Oneida country in upstate New York. Occom moved there with his family in 1789, spending the remaining years of his life serving as a minster to the Brothertown, Stockbridge, and Mohegan Indians. Harried by corrupt land agents, the Brothertown and Stockbridge groups relocated to the eastern shore of Lake Winnebago, though Occom died in 1792 before he could remove himself and his family there. Occom's writings and legacy have made him one of the best known and most eminent Native Americans of the 18th century and beyond.

Johnson, Joseph

Joseph Johnson was a Mohegan who studied at Moor’s Indian Charity School and became one of the most important organizers of the Brothertown Movement (a composite tribe composed of Christian members of seven Southern New England Algonquian settlements). He was a prolific writer and his papers are relatively well-preserved. Johnson’s writing is especially noteworthy for his skillful use of Biblical allusion and his awareness of the contradiction that he, as an educated Native American, presented to white colonists. Johnson arrived at Moor’s in 1758, when he was seven years old, and studied there until 1766, when he became David Fowler’s usher at Kanawalohale. He continued teaching in Oneida territory until the end of 1768, when Samuel Kirkland sent him home in disgrace for drunkeness and bad behavior. After a stint teaching at Providence, Rhode Island, and working on a whaling ship, Johnson returned to Mohegan in 1771 and became a zealous Christian. He opened a school at Farmington, CT, in 1772, for which he seems to have received some minimal support from the New England Company. From his base at Farmington, he began organizing Southern New England Algonquians for the Brothertown project. The goal was to purchase land from the Oneidas, the most Christianized of the Six Nations, and form a Christian Indian town incorporating Algonquian and Anglo-American elements. Johnson spent the rest of his short life garnering necessary support and legal clearance for the Brothertown project. Johnson died sometime between June 10, 1776 and May 1777, at 25 or 26 years old, six or seven years before Brothertown was definitively established in 1783. He was married to Tabitha Occom, one of Samson Occom’s daughters. She lived at Mohegan with their children even after Brothertown’s founding, and none of their children settled at Brothertown permanently. Like most of Wheelock’s successful Native American students, Johnson found that he could not satisfy his teacher's contradictory standards for Native Americans. Although Johnson's 1768 dismissal created a hiatus in their relationship, Johnson reopened contact with Wheelock after his re-conversion to a degree that other former students, such as Samson Occom, David Fowler, and Hezekiah Calvin, never did.

Fowler, David

David Fowler was Jacob Fowler's older brother, Samson Occom's brother-in-law, and an important leader of the Brothertown Tribe. He came to Moor's in 1759, at age 24, and studied there until 1765. While at school, he accompanied Occom on a mission to the Six Nations in 1761. He was licensed as a school master in the 1765 mass graduation, and immediately went to the Six Nations to keep school, first at Oneida and then at Kanawalohale. Fowler saw himself as very close to Wheelock, but their relationship fragmented over the course of Fowler's mission, primarily because Wheelock wrote back to Kirkland, with whom Fowler clashed, but not to Fowler, and because Wheelock refused to reimburse Fowler for some expenses on his mission (767667.4 provides the details most clearly). Fowler went on to teach school at Montauk, and played a major role in negotiations with the Oneidas for the lands that became Brothertown. He was among the first wave of immigrants to that town, and held several important posts there until his death in 1807.

Wympy, Elijah

Elijah Wympy was a prominent Farmington Indian who was instrumental in establishing Brothertown, yet he subsequently led a group that disregarded the primary vision of the community. In his early years he was a student at the school in Farmington, CT, and in 1757 he served in the Seven Years’ War. During negotiations around 1773 between the Oneida and New England Indians concerning a tract of land, Wympy acted as a delegate for Farmington and asked other tribes to send envoys too. The Oneidas granted the territory the following year, and in 1775 Wympy was among the first to move to what became Brothertown. He was chosen as a trustee of the town in 1785, but around this time the Oneidas attempted to reclaim the land. Accordingly, Wympy participated in the effort to maintain the territory. Fortunately, when the state of New York gained Oneida territory in 1788, it acknowledged the Christian Indians’ right to the tract as it had originally been granted; the state passed an act in 1789 that recognized the Indians’ property and instituted a 10-year limit on leases for lots. Wympy and his followers, comprised mainly of outsiders, thus leased numerous parcels, including invaluable ones, to white settlers. Occom strongly opposed this and petitioned the Assembly, which passed an act in 1791 restricting the power to lease lands to the council. While Occom and Wympy had previously been friends -- Wympy had even partaken in the movement to establish Occom as the local minister -- their disagreement on the issue of leasing Brothertown lands to whites opened a strong divide between them. Wympy apparently regretted his actions, for in 1794 he was among the signers of an address to the governor seeking to remove the whites. He remained in Brothertown until his death around 1802.

Chaugham, James

James Chaugham was a Narragansett Indian from Block Island, RI. He married Molly Barber, a white woman from Wethersfield, CT. The couple settled near New Hartford, CT, and had eight children, one of whom, Mercy, married a fugitive slave named Isaac Jacklyn. Their extended family became known as the Lighthouse Tribe.

Sergeant, Jr., John

John Sergeant Jr., like his father, served as a minister in Stockbridge, MA. In 1773, Stephen West, the minister to the Stockbridge Indians since 1757, decided to leave his post and turned over ministering duties to John Sergeant Jr. Stockbridge, MA, which John Sergeant Sr. helped establish, failed as a Christian Indian town when the Stockbridge Indians lost ownership of their land. When the Oneida Tribe offered the Stockbridgers land in central New York after the American Revolution, many of them moved to the Brothertown and New Stockbridge settlements. The Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge funded Sergeant Jr. in 1787 to continue serving as a minister to the Stockbridge Indians who moved to New York. Sergeant travelled from Stockbridge, MA, to New Stockbridge every year to serve as their minister. In 1788, the Stockbridge Indians at New Stockbridge were divided in their support for Occom or John Sergeant as the town’s minister. Mohican sachem Hendrick Aupaumut led the community members who favored Occom. According to Sergeant, 30 members of the Tribe were in favor of Occom while 50 were in favor of him (later, half of Occom’s supporters defected to Sergeant). The relationship between Sergeant and Occom was contentious, with Occom disliking Sergeant’s manner of preaching. Occom moved to Munhegunnack or New Stockbridge in 1791 and suggests in a letter that many of Sergeant’s supporters were shifting support to Occom. In his sermons, Sergeant blamed the Indians’ loss of land on what he described as their drunkenness and idleness. He suggested that the whites’ encroachment on their lands was God’s punishment for their sins. Sergeant remained the New Stockbridge minister until his death in 1824.

Miller, Jeremiah
Hedges, Lewis
Hedges, Reuben
Johnson, Guy

After immigrating to America in 1756, Guy Johnson, Sir William Johnson’s nephew and eventual son-in-law, served in the army during the Seven Years War. From 1762 on, he worked as Sir William's deputy in addition to serving in the New York militia and New York Assembly (1773-1775). When Sir William Johnson died in July of 1774, Guy Johnson succeeded him as Superintendent of Indian Affairs in the Northeast. He issued Brothertown’s land deed that October. While Sir William Johnson was relatively moderate in his loyalties to England, his successors—Sir John Johnson, Daniel Claus, and Guy Johnson—were much more fervent in their loyalism. All three men tried their best to keep the Six Nations loyal to Britain during the Revolution, with limited success. Because of his loyalism, Guy Johnson clashed with Samuel Kirkland, a Moor’s Indian Charity School alumnus, over Kirkland’s attempts to persuade the Oneida to support the colonies. Guy Johnson spent much of the Revolution assisting the British Army in various ways. After the war, he relocated to Canada and resumed his duties as superintendent. In 1783, he was accused of embezzling funds from the Indian department, and he turned his post over to Sir John Johnson so that he could travel to London with the dual purpose of clearing his name and reclaiming some of the Johnson estate that had been lost in the Revolution. He died while in London.

Franklin, William

William Franklin was the 13th, and last, royal governor of New Jersey. He was the natural son of Benjamin Franklin, printer and diplomat of Philadelphia. William attended Alexander Annand's Classical Academy for two years and was tutored at home. He then served in King George’s war on the New York frontier, attaining the rank of captain, and participated in trade missions to the Delaware and Shawnee Indians in 1748. He went on to study law, was admitted to the bar, and traveled to Europe assisting with his father’s scientific experiments. In 1762 he was awarded an honorary master of arts degree from Oxford, married Elizabeth Downes, and was appointed to the governorship. Franklin was popular in the position early on, introducing subsidies for farmers, establishing the first Indian reservation at Brotherton, PA, and helping to found Queens College (now Rutgers University). His popularity faded when he allied himself with Great Britain during the Revolutionary War. He was arrested in June 1776, imprisoned, and released in October 1778 to British authorities in New York in a prisoner exchange. His wife died during this separation, and for the next four years, he was involved in Loyalist operations. After the American victory, Franklin emigrated to England where the British Commission on Loyalist Claims awarded him £1800 and a pension for his loss of estate. He remarried a wealthy Irish widow, Mary D’Evelyn, and served as an agent for Loyalist claims in London. Franklin tried to reestablish relations with his estranged father and his own natural son, William Temple Franklin, who had become Benjamin’s ward. Although briefly reconciled, his father finally disinherited him. He was called the most notorious Loyalist after Benedict Arnold.

Post, John
Johnson, William

Sir William Johnson was a powerful British colonial official who amassed wealth and influence by integrating into the Mohawk tribe. For a brief window of time (1761-1768), he provided support for Wheelock’s missionary efforts among the Six Nations. He also helped the Brothertown Nation of Indians procure land from the Oneidas. Johnson was born in Ireland in 1715. His family had been part of the Catholic elite, but after William of Orange’s 1690 victory at the Battle of the Boyne, they at least nominally converted to the Episcopalian Church. In 1738, Johnson emigrated to America to manage his uncle Peter Warren’s estate in Mohawk territory. Over the next decade, Johnson became wealthy in his own right through trade and land sales, acquiring a vast estate crowned by his manor house, Johnson Hall, which became the central location for British and Indian treaty making. In 1745, Johnson began collecting official British titles and positions. He played an important military role in the French and Indian War and was named Superintendent of Indian Affairs in 1756 and first baronet of New York in 1757. Much of Johnson’s success was due to his influence among the Mohawks, which he obtained by learning their language and customs and integrating himself into their society. He participated in Mohawk rituals and entered into a common-law marriage with a powerful Mohawk woman, Molly Brant (also called Mary Brant). Because Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) society is matrilineal, this marriage was an essential element of his participation in Indian affairs. Wheelock desperately wanted to wield missionary influence among the Six Nations, and sought to obtain Johnson as an ally in his endeavors. At first, the two found grounds for cooperation. Wheelock sent Occom as a missionary to the Oneidas in 1761 and again in 1762, and sent a substantially larger group of missionaries and schoolmasters in 1765, 1766, and 1767. Johnson, meanwhile, encouraged Haudenosaunee children, including his brother-in-law Joseph Brant, to attend Moor’s. Johnson’s support proved indispensible to missionaries in the field; he helped with supplies, language skills, and relations with the Mohawks and Oneidas. Wheelock also valued Johnson for his influence in Britain, and drew on him for recommendations and public statements of support numerous times. From 1763 on, however, Johnson found himself decidedly uncomfortable with Wheelock’s missionary efforts, and by 1769, their relationship had dissolved completely. In 1766, Johnson was invited to join the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG), the largest and most influential Anglican missionary society in the 18th-century British-Atlantic world. He began working to place Anglican missionaries, rather than Congregationalist and Presbyterian ones, among the Six Nations, which alarmed Wheelock. Johnson was generally supportive of Native American tribes’ efforts to maintain their land and sovereignty. As the historian Linford Fisher has noted, “virtually every major Native group in southeastern New England successfully petitioned Johnson to act on their behalf during the late 1760s and early 1770s.” Among these groups was the Brothertown Nation, a Christian composite tribe formed by Southern New England Algonquian Moor’s alumni. Johnson helped them negotiate with the Oneidas, which proved essential to their successful land purchase and relocation to central New York.

Brant, Joseph

Joseph Brant studied briefly with Wheelock and went on to be a very influential Mohawk leader. He was born into a prominent Mohawk family, and his connections only improved when his sister, Molly, began a long-lasting relationship with Sir William Johnson. Brant came to study with Wheelock in 1761. He played the part of a model pupil, as he was already partially assimilated and took to his studies quickly. Wheelock had high hopes for him, but in 1763, Brant visited Mohawk country with CJ Smith and never returned. This was likely a result of Johnson's increasing desire to promote only Anglican missionary efforts, as Brant seems to have harbored no ill-will towards Wheelock: Calloway hypothesizes that Brant's influence protected Dartmouth during the Revolution, and in 1800 Brant sent two of his sons to Moor's Indian Charity School. After leaving Wheelock, Brant went on to accumulate influence both as a British civil servant and Mohawk leader (historians debate how much genuine power and influence he had among the Mohawks and Six Nations more generally). The British government employed him as an interpreter, and in 1775, he visited England to argue for Mohawk interests. During the Revolution, he remained loyal to the British and encouraged other tribes to do the same. After the Revolution, when the British abandoned Indian land interests, he battled militarily and politically for Native land rights. Culturally, Brant was very much a pro-assimilation Anglican. He translated the Gospel of Mark, as well as other religious documents, into Mohawk, and lived a generally anglicized lifestyle, although he criticized what he saw as severe moral failings in white society.

Kirkland, Samuel

Samuel Kirkland (b. Kirtland) was Eleazar Wheelock’s most famous Anglo American student. He conducted a 40-year mission to the Oneidas and founded Hamilton College (established in 1793 as Hamilton Oneida Academy). Kirkland won acclaim as a missionary at a young age by conducting an adventurous and risky mission to the Senecas, the westernmost of the Haudenosaunee (Iroquois) Six Nations. After his year and a half among them, which was well publicized by Wheelock, he was ordained and sent as a missionary to the Oneidas under the auspices of the Connecticut Board of the Society in Scotland for Propagating Christian Knowledge. He spent most of the rest of his life serving the Oneidas as a minister. Kirkland’s sincere devotion to serving as a missionary was excellent publicity for Wheelock’s program, but it also brought the two men into conflict. Wheelock became jealous of Kirkland when the school’s British benefactors began urging Wheelock to make Kirkland his heir, and Kirkland, meanwhile, was upset that Wheelock had failed to provide him with sufficient supplies on his mission — a complaint that he was unafraid to publicize (and that almost all of Wheelock’s other students shared). The breaking point came in 1770, when Kirkland split from Wheelock’s Connecticut Board and affiliated with the New England Company, a missionary society that had abruptly turned against Wheelock in 1765. Wheelock and Kirkland briefly made up in 1771, but their relationship quickly dissolved into further acrimony. Although Kirkland spent most of his life as a missionary to the Six Nations, he generally held disparaging views of Native Americans. He did not approve of Wheelock’s plan to educate Indians as missionaries, and was haughty towards the Moor’s alumni that worked with him (notably David Fowler, Joseph Johnson, and Joseph Woolley). Prior to the Revolution, Kirkland had been stringent in his refusals to take Oneida land, even when offered to him. The Revolution seems to have shifted his loyalties from the Oneidas to local Anglo Americans. Kirkland served as a chaplain in the American army and was instrumental in convincing the Oneidas to remain neutral (or, more accurately, to side with the Americans). At one point he was the chaplain with General Sullivan’s army, the force sent to ransack Seneca and Cayuga territory in 1779. It is unclear what emotions this aroused in Kirkland, who had served the Senecas less than 15 years earlier, yet after the war, Kirkland freely engaged in Oneida dispossession. Along with James Dean, another Wheelock alumnus with close ties to the Oneidas, Kirkland played a pivotal role in urging the Oneidas to sell land illegally to the state of New York. The land deals that resulted gave Kirkland the property, financial capital, and connections to establish Hamilton Oneida Academy. The last decades of Kirkland’s life were difficult. He found himself in a three-way battle with Samson Occom and John Sergeant Jr., who were also ministers in Oneida territory, for the hearts and minds of their congregations; he was fired as a missionary in 1797, although he continued to serve sans salary; one of his son’s business enterprises failed, leaving Kirkland nearly destitute; and two of his three sons died unexpectedly. Hamilton Oneida Academy, like Moor’s Indian Charity School, largely failed at its goal of educating Indians, and in 1812, four years after Kirkland’s death, it was re-purposed as Hamilton College, a largely Anglo-American institution. At some point in the mid-to-late 18th century, Kirkland changed his name from Kirtland, although the reasons for this are uncertain.

Clement, XIII
HomeSamson Occom, journal, 1774 July 8 to August 14
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